Acting Health Promotions Coordinator in the Ministry of Health, Alison Samuel has said Breast Cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed among women in Dominica and data shows that increasingly younger women are being affected.
She made that statement during the opening ceremony of the Annual Health Fair held at the Dominica State College (DSC) earlier this week.
“Like most cancers, the etiology of Breast Cancer in the majority of diagnosed cases is unknown,” she stated. “And this is especially true to us here in Dominica with our limited research resources. However this increase begs us to develop an understanding of the modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors associated with this cancer and to recognize the need to act now.”
She outlined some of the risk factors include increase in age, a family history or personal history of breast lumps or breast cancer.
Samuel noted that the risk is multiplied when the link is genetic rather that lifestyle-based.
“And off course lifestyle and personal health choices or practise to include diet; physical activity and social habits of smoking and alcohol use,” she stated.
She encourages all women to undergo regular screenings in order to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
“The onus is on all women and especially the youth, to know the signs, get regular screenings and take active steps to reduce the risks … developing screening habits which can assist in identify Breast Cancer early so that effective interventions can result in improved outcome for individuals, families and communities,” Samuel said. “Learn and practise monthly breast self examinations, get your annual clinical breast examinations done, do age appropriate mammograms as directed by your healthcare provider, but most importantly pay attention to your personal health practises.”
She said balance nutrition, increase physical activity, no smoking, as far as possible, and limited alcohol use all serve as a protective shield against non-communicable diseases, such as breast cancer.